'King of Sheffield' memorial: Willy Collins' wife shares video tours of the lavish headstone on TikTok

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The wife of the late Willy Collins has amassed thousands of views on TikTok by sharing video tours of her husband’s controversial memorial in a Sheffield cemetery

The spectacular tribute to the bare knuckle fighter, dubbed the 'King of Sheffield' by many, was unveiled on March 17, nearly two years after he died aged 49 after collapsing while on holiday with his family in Majorca.

Made using marble from Italy, the 37-tonne headstone features two life-sized statues of the father-of-nine and comes complete with lighting and a jukebox. The monument is covered by CCTV cameras and under 24-hour guard amid fears it will be damaged.

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Despite public criticism from some that the move was 'disrespectful,' Willy’s wife, Kathleen, appears unfazed in her TikTok videos, responding to one criticism by saying “some things are better left unsaid”.

The Willy Collins memorial at Shregreen CemeteryThe Willy Collins memorial at Shregreen Cemetery
The Willy Collins memorial at Shregreen Cemetery

Kathleen brings viewers closer to the colossal headstone in one video that has racked up over 34,000 views as Tony Christie's hit ‘I Did What I Did’ is played full blast on the jukebox.

The 50-year-old who goes by @kathleencollins72 on TikTok, wrote in the caption: “RIP my beautiful husband, Willy Collins King of Sheffield”.

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Kathleen defends headstone

Kathleen and her husband, WillyKathleen and her husband, Willy
Kathleen and her husband, Willy

Another video of the memorial taken at night has also garnered over 71,000 views in the six days since it was uploaded.

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Kathleen said: “How beautiful is my husband's grave at night. God bless it.”

Additionally, her videos have elicited thousands of comments, the majority of are critical.

One poster said: “Feel sorry for other people visiting lost ones with all that loud music playing.”

Another commented: “Showing no respect for anyone else's loved ones!”

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One woman added: “I'd be fuming if I had a loved one nearby with the volume of that music. It's way too loud.”

To which, Kathleen replied: “Please if you haven't got anything nice to say please don't comment as it's not very nice, he was my husband and my children's father, he was a good man.”

Some think it’s ‘lovely’

Despite the criticism, some appear in support of the extravagant headstone.

One poster said: “Why do graveyards have to be eerie and quiet? I know my mum and dad loved music and dancing. I think it's lovely.”

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Another said: “RIP. I think this man would be proud to know how much his family loved him.”

Kathleen has previously said there will be ‘war’ if her husband’s headstone is damaged or pulled down.

She also said much of the criticism of the lavish memorial in Shiregreen Cemetery, which has made international headlines and divided opinion since it was unveiled earlier this month, is being fuelled by ‘jealousy’ and ‘racism’ against the traveller community.

She warned: “It's going to cause very, very bad riots if they take my husband's headstone down. I am warning the public and the council, don't touch the beautiful monument we have put up to remember my darling Willy.”

Sheffield City Council said it had approved plans for a memorial but what has been built differs from the plans submitted.